The following books are finalists for the 2020 Oregon Book Award in Young Adult Literature. Each year, this program honors the state’s finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of poetry, fiction, graphic literature, drama, literary nonfiction, and literature for young readers. We will not be hosting our 33rd Annual Oregon Book Awards Ceremony at Portland Center Stage at the Armory on June 22. However, we are excited to announce that the Oregon Book Awards will take place in a different format.
Please join us for:
“The 2020 Oregon Book Awards”
a special from Literary Arts: The Archive Project
Monday, June 22, 2020
7:00 to 7:30 p.m.OPB Radio (where to listen)
Deborah Hopkinson of West Linn, How I Became A Spy: A Mystery of WWII London (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Three young teens, with the help of a trusty dog named Little Roo, must race against time to decipher the coded message in a spy’s notebook and prevent a traitor from leaking information about General Eisenhower’s secret plan: the D-Day invasion.
Deborah Hopkinson has written more than fifty books for children and teens. Her 2020 titles include a picture book, Mindful Day, and a work of nonfiction, We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport. She lives in West Linn
“Hopkinson has crafted a page-turning, brain-teasing mystery that is intriguing and imaginative.” —Judge Susan Campbell Bartoletti
April Henry of Portland, The Lonely Dead (Henry Holt & Company)
Adele hides that she can see and speak to dead, but when her ex-best friend is murdered, she teams up with the deal girl to find the killer.
Roald Dahl helped April Henry get her first story published when she was 12. Now she is the New York Times-bestselling author of 24 mysteries and thrillers for teens and adults. She is known for her meticulous research.
“Sparsely written and tightly plotted, with an unrelenting pace that turns the page, The Lonely Dead is a complex story about tragedy, self-awareness, and learning to embrace one’s identity.”
—Judge David Gill
Connie King Leonard of Milwaukie, Sleeping in My Jeans (Ooligan Press)
Sleeping in my Jeans describes the harsh reality of teenage homelessness and raises urgent questions about what it means to live—not just survive—in circumstances beyond your control.
Connie King Leonard is a writer of books for children and teens. She holds degrees from Minot State University and the University of Oregon and has taught elementary, middle and high school. She is a member of SCBWI as well as Willamette Writers, and lives in Milwaukie, Oregon.
“This book is a fascinating and heartbreakingly realistic look into how hard it can be to pull yourself out of poverty without outside help.”—Judge Traci Jones
Rosanne Parry of Portland, Last of the Name (Carolrhoda Books)
Danny O’Carolan, an Irish orphan in NY City in 1863, dodges both service in the Union Army and confinement in an orphanage by posing as a girl to join his sister in domestic service—only he can’t stop himself from dressing in his own clothes in secret and dancing on the street for pennies to the music he misses from home.
Rosanne Parry is the author of six middle grade novels. She’s a part-time bookseller at Annie Blooms, and is the captain of the League of Exceptional Writers, a free mentoring workshop for future authors & illustrators. She writes in a treehouse in her backyard.
“Using crisp writing and pathos to illuminate an oft written about time in American History, Parry offers a view into the Civil War not often seen in literature.”—Judge Traci Jones
Nancy Richardson Fischer of Hood River, When Elephants Fly (HarperCollins/ Inkyard Press)
T. Lily Decker has an overwhelming family history of schizophrenia and a determination to lead a stress free life to avoid triggering the condition, but when a newspaper internship results in Lily witnessing a mother elephant trying to kill her three-week-old calf, Swifty, Lily can’t abandon the story or the calf.
Nancy Richardson Fischer has children’s, teen and adult titles to her credit, and has co-written autobiographies, including Bela Karolyi, Nadia Comaneci, Monica Seles, and Apolo Ohno. When not writing, Nancy loves kite-boarding and biking with her husband, and hiking with their Vizsla, Boone.
“When Elephants Fly is a heart-wrenching sympathetic exploration of the consequences of mental illness, as well a coming of age novel for a young woman who learns that fear may be the greatest hurdle of all”. —Judge David Gill